Does Freelancing Make People Emotionally Toxic?


#1

This year has been a bit of a whirlwind in the freelance universe. - At least for me. There have been struggles, successes, unnecessary complications, all the usual stuff really. However, my biggest takeaway from the year is a bit of a surprising one. You see, over the past 11 months, I’ve come to the conclusion that freelancers themselves are a bit nuts, and not in a good way.

For the most part, my damning criticism of freelancers stems from my dabbling in the world of coworking. A coworking space opened last year in my islands largest city. At that time, it came on my radar after several home disasters. Power cuts at the worst possible moment. Flooding which killed my electrics (and which still means none of the light fittings in my apartment work). Someone cutting through my Internet cable, twice. You name it, 2017 and early 2018 was like being cursed.

In my mind, I figured that paying 30 Euros a week to have somewhere where I could go day or night to work, would be a killer investment. However, after just three months of coworking on a semi-regular basis, I had to quit.

It was the people. Pompous. Arrogant. Superficial. I can safely say that I didn’t have a single day where I felt at ease with the coworkers around me. In fact, problems started right on day 1, when I arrived with my then Windows RT Surface 2 tablet. Jests were exchanged, along with recommendations concerning the kind of tech I should be using. I let all that pass, of course. However, my so-called coworkers couldn’t.

After out of date tech jibes came jibes about Fiverr, what I do, how much money I make, and even my choice of friends. I even became known as the guy who hangs out at the ‘Bum Bar’ meaning the cheapest place in town. And that was everything that was said to my face. God only knows what was said behind my back.

Would you pay 30 Euros a week to sit at a table surrounded by several people waging a not-so-silent ego war against you?

So I quit. Then I invested instead in a new super tablet with an epic battery life and a 4G mobile router for emergencies. However, I didn’t immediately resign myself to the fact that all freelancers are narcissistic egomaniacs. Instead, in planning my still pending move to another country, I discovered an apparently more upmarket coworking space which could apparently organize the whole thing for me.

On this coworking space website, the owners touted being able to arrange everything from accomodation to airport transfers. For me, this seemed like an incredible opportunity. However, when I reached out, things quickly turned sour.

Prices for accommodation weren’t just double and triple what was advertised. As well as this, prices were double and triple prices pertaining to the exact same accommodation listed on independent booking and real estate websites. Then the hard selling started, as the coworking space proprietors tried to convince me to take out an annual membership before I had even seen the place.

And then we come to online freelance communities…

Needless to say, My Buzz is exempt from what I am about to say next. However, this year I’ve noticed a trend on several freelance forums of… Well, people being less than friendly.

Due to my experiences, I’m working on a theory that freelancing might be psychologically damaging. As freelancers, we have to deal with scammers, abusive people, and often exploitative people on an almost weekly basis. Over time, do we, therefore, fall victim to a kind of freelancer transference? - Specifically, one where we start to manifest the same attitudes of superiority and arrogance as our worst clients?

Alternatively, does freelancing attract people with borderline sociopathic tendencies? They say, after all, that most CEOs demonstrate psychopathic traits. In this case, could it be that top freelancers get to where they are by having less than favorable personality traits to start with?

Personally, I think a psychology student could have a field day exploring the effects freelancing has on mental and possibly physical health. We know nightshift workers are susceptible to several physical and mental disorders. What, though, do we know about freelancers who often also work nights, rarely have proper rest days, and deal with some of the world’s most difficult people?

Lastly, I’m basing my assessment of freelancers as more prone to negative personality traits on real-world working interactions with other freelancers. Maybe I just had a raw deal. :slight_smile:


#2

Personally, I think people are burned out from work. Any business has its share of scammers, but there is customer support or at least one person who deal with it.

As a freelancer, you are in charge of everything, therefore all the good and headaches are all yours. What’s worse, when you sell on a platform, you don’t really have full control of your own business. You have to follow someone else’s rules.

One thing good, for the moment, as Emma said, this site is not popular enough to be indexed too far up Google to be noticed by the “meksellers” nor is it old enough to have cynical regular posters who are tired of answering same questions. :slight_smile:

One thing is certain, when you work alone for a long time, getting into a team is a nightmare! People are nutty as heck. :weary:

I’m on my tiny smartphone, so I’ll end it here. See you later.


#3

In my own case, freelancing made me greedy and somewhat narcissistic.

Also, I don’t like dating because whenever I do date a girl, my business takes a hit. #FreelancingMadeThat

This is so true. I tried to work on a project with a creative team in a local startup, and I found their way of doing work unproductive. To be honest, it wasn’t really unproductive, but for me, it was. Because as a freelancer I am used to getting things done faster. :crazy_face:


#4

Yes. This has been my experience also. I’m not greedy. In fact, only this year have I capped loaning people money which they never ever pay back. Narcissistic? No, but relationships are a disaster.

My last (stupid) romantic interest was a gay/bi girl who I started to realize was using me as a perpetual babysitter. I was fine with that but her kid started to ask if I was his Dad and she told him yes without asking me. I tried to approach the subject delicately (for his sake mainly) but then everything exploded spectacularly.

Otherwise, I find it impossible to pick up women my own age, while simultaneously impossible to shale women 20-years older than me.

Women my age I just can’t relate to. It’s not a sexist thing, I can’t relate to guys either. They all switch off at 5pm and have this set schedule of watch TV, eat, maybe go out, and that’s their life and they are content with it.

My schedule is, never watch TV, write about everything from endangered animals to window cleaning each day, and when I get chance, breathe in the outdoors and watch the sunset.

Older women seem to love this. However, they get way too clingy. It’s a bit scary actually.

Then when I do meet someone I like, it all goes pear shaped in the first few days. They have a day off. I thought I did but don’t. Then when you do eventually have time free, you realize that someone else has appeared on their interest radar and… Well, then it’s time to back away respectfully. :frowning:


#5

I always prize my work more than the “relationships”. I didn’t even had a real one, nor something serious. Longest one was nearly a month.

The entire concept of “relationship” scares me. Once I found a crazy-ish a girl, we only saw each other a couple of times but she was calling and texting me all the time. I didn’t have the heart to tell her to cool down and stop bothering me.


#6

To be honest, this is a bad idea. I’m insanely jealous of friends with kids and the whole lives they’ve had around them. Value your work, but value it with a bigger personal goal in sight. By the time you get past 30, it really does get boring just working for yourself.


#7

I know, and many people told me the same thing. Even though I know it’s wrong I still continue.


#8

Don’t worry too much. Just keep it in mind. I quit university at 21 and had an amazing life. However, now I’m at a stage where I kind of wish I just went the conventional route. You kind of have to be prepared for that. Getting older sucks. The world is always newer but you’re always older. And trust me, you really don’t want to one day find yourself surrounded by really clingy old women sucking vampire like at what is left of your youth. :slight_smile:


#9

Freelancers and their relationship problems :neutral_face:

2 things make me happy in this world…

Writing articles and getting paid for them.

Estimating my net worth and comparing with others.

That will keep me busy until I’m 101.

Caveat: As long as we don’t become another Venezuela. Then all bets are off.


#10

Why, who would have thought?

5WzteJu


#11

Well, after 10 years in the freelancing twilight zone, I still haven’t become arrogant or superior, nor a bad client.

HOWEVER, it did take away the best of me and left me with some bad stuff :frowning:

It took my smile and my optimism, two features that made me who I was, everyone knew me for smiling all the time and being optimistic about everything. Not anymore, it’s all poker face and dark now :frowning:

It also made me hate people, sometimes from the most hidden depths of my soul, for I’ve been shown how people truly are behind that mask they wear every day in real life (the internet is a place where people show their true selves, and it’s usually dark & gruesome!)

I’ve dealt with too many people in a rather short amount of time, too many abusive ones, too many scammers, too many virtual enslavers, I’ve been hurt and dragged through mud countless times, so basically I’ve been shown how people are across the globe - this planet has become a dark place because of humans :cry:

I’ve been shown more than I can handle, and it literally broke me to pieces… or maybe I’m just not fit for this world or time.


#12

You can add the fact that you live in one of the most corrupted countries in Europe - which magically kills the last smile.


I’ve chosen the wrong words yesterday. When I said that I become greedy; it was because of the fact that it made me work non-stop. Probably, I am better now, as after I overworked myself I don’t value the money as I used to do before.

Well, for making me a bit arrogant, and narcissistic it made me. The average income here in Macedonia is $400, and I used to make 6 times more than that. Somehow, I forgot that once upon a time I was a humble and nice boy. Now, I am trying hard to get rid of some of those habits.

Actually, if you think this through - it isn’t freelancing that made me narcissistic, but, the $$$$.


Freelancing, especially on Fiverr defies all logic and common sense.


#13

True :neutral_face:

Amen to that!


#14

Yes, I can relate. It also seems to me that clients are getting ruder and more abusive. I was messaged today by someone from PPH. I told them I couldn’t help and then the hate storm started complete with screenshots showing me my own PPH gig. Why people do this is beyond me.

Then I had an order come in on Fiverr. Someone has paid $20 and asked me to create them a Wikipedia page, write a bio page for Instagram about their childhood, and then write a run down of the top 20 Instagram accounts to follow in 2019.

Then, of course, I get a reminder from Fiverr to make a great first impression on this buyer as they are new. Yeah… That ain’t happening. They can accept my cancellation request and take pride of place on the dart board of my mind for the next 12-hours.

In real life people are no better. If you think freelancing shows you the worst of the human race, try hospitality. As far as I am concerned, the Internet has turned the vast majority of the worlds population into narcissistic intellectual degenerates.

I know where you are speaking from and I am very sorry that this has got you so down. At least we have this nice little island of calm and nice people! Also, be careful about wishing the world and the time we live in away. There are still good people out there. If you are ever not in the world, you will just end up contributing to their loneliness. :wink: Also, have you ever read a history book? They should really just rename every volume out there to 'Poverty and Slaughter.'


#15

I hate when that happens :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

True :grin: Feels like a fresh breath of air every time I come back here :beach_umbrella:

On the other hand, if I wouldn’t have been in the world, either someone else would be using my shoes, or nobody would feel lonely without me as they wouldn’t know how it would be with me :thinking: #debatable :smiley:

What a darn fine summary! :thinking:


#16

You can make a person lonely even if you haven’t met them yet. Every once in a while, the good in the world conspires to bring exactly the right people together at exactly the right moment. This happened to me a couple of years ago with an Irish woman called Marg. I only knew her for a few days but it was like fireworks of like-mindedness and soul-based recognition were going off every second we were together.

I was in a very bad situation at the time. She was also. If either of us wasn’t in the world, each of our respective dark times might have been quite a lot harder to get through. As it was, we both were, and we helped make each others world a little bit brighter for a moment. :wink:


#17

And it’s moments like this one, words like yours, that temporarily restore my faith in humanity, which is subject to daily losing battles :slight_smile:

I can almost sense a spammer trying to find me on Fiverr and ruin this moment :smiley:


#18

Happy I could help! I hate the world and most people in it. However, I have been subject to extraordinary acts of random kindness and been dealt quite a few lucky breaks. They keep my chin up. As does my wee dog as he insists on me pulling up an arm chair so he can sit by me as I work.

There is good in the word. You just have to bare the bad before it appears sometimes.


#19

For me it’s mostly in the form of silent, furry (or less furry, and why not, less silent) animals and pets :dog:


#20

I don’t know. My arch nemesis at the moment is a cat. She rocked up on the road I live with two kittens and decided to beat up the cat I like who has been here for years and now the latter has disappeared. Meanwhile, the new cat and its demonic hissy spawn are ripping open all the refuse bags every night leaving the street filled with litter.

The old cat was far more civilized. I also had a monkey steal my passport once.

In short, there are just as many delinquent brutes in the animal kingdom as there is the human world. Hence why you never see well to do golden retrievers taking in stray humans. Of course, wolves have a habit of caring for abandoned children. In this case, maybe through domestication, we imprint animals with our own worst qualities… There’s something to think about.